A Fantabulous Vinyasa Yoga For Swimmers
Swimming is a fantastic cardiovascular workout, while yoga is good for improving your strength and flexibility levels. A swimmer who is a regular yoga practitioner is bestowed with eminent benefits, including
- Stronger shoulders, chest, arms, core, and hips
- Enhanced flexibility
- Better stamina and endurance
- Excellent concentration power
- Prevent injuries
- Faster recuperation
- Lower levels of stress
Here is a yoga sequence that is sure to bequeath swimmers with the above outlined benefits:
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose:
A forward bend cum inversion, Downward dog ensures that the body coordination is increased. At the same time, it gives a new dimension of balance to the body.
- For strengthening, stretching, and improved flexibility of shoulders, hands, calves, and hamstrings
- Lower levels of anxiety and stress
- Relax and rejuvenate yourself
How to do:
- Stand with your feet firmly pressed on mat, allowing hands to rest beside torso.
- Keep the spine erect and head and neck relax.
- Taking a deep inhalation and as you exhale, fall forward off the hips, head falling closer to the feet.
- Keep the palms spread out on the floor.
- Inhale, take your legs back, one at a time.
- Press your heels closer to ground and hips and spine towards the ceiling.
- Keep the palms beneath shoulders.
2. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose:
This is a powerful back strengthening yoga pose. It tones your back and shoulders.
- Strengthens lower back, shoulders, and spine
- Stretches, strengthens, and tones shoulders, lungs, chest, and core
- Keeps your relaxed and rejuvenated
- Improves blood circulation and breathing potential
How to do:
- From Downward Facing Dog, exhale and push your body to the mat.
- Slide, inhale, and lift your body up, placing the arms aligned with the chest.
- Simultaneously lift your torso, hips, and knees off the mat, balancing yourself on the palms and toes.
- Tilt your head back, rolling back your shoulders.
- Exhale, tuck your toes, and come back to Adho Mukha Svanasana.
3. Dhanurasana – Bow Pose:
Bend your body like a bow to give your back, chest, and abdomen an additional dose of strength and flexibility. Plus, the focus on breathing helps in improving the levels of concentration.
- To strengthen and stretch your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, hip, groin, and thighs
- Heal back pain
- For better breathing and concentration
- To tone your core
How to do:
- From Adho Mukha Svanasana, exhale and rest your body on the mat.
- Bend your knees and hold your ankles with your hands.
- Inhale and lift your torso while pulling the thighs away from the body.
- Balance your body on the abdomen.
- Tilt your head backward slightly.
4. Balasana – Child Pose:
A strong and flexible hips and pelvic girdle is essential for swimmers. Along with toning your back and improving your circulation levels, Child’s Pose also helps you calm down and relax.
- Tones your ankles, thighs, calves, and hips
- Stretches and strengthens hips and thighs
- Offers relief from neck pain
- Eases back ache
- Relaxes and eases shoulder stiffness
- Fabulous way to de-stress and let go off anxiety
- Improved blood circulation
- Improved digestion
- Better breathing
- Better focus
How to do:
- From Dhanurasana, exhale, and release your legs and arms.
- Inhale, lift your upper body and sit back on your heels, hands resting on the palms.
- Separate your knees hip width, heels joined.
- Exhale and bend forward from the hips, hands stretched out to the front. Ensure that you are still sitting on the heels.
- Bend forward till forehead touches the ground.
5. Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose – Butterfly Pose – Cobbler Pose:
Stiff hips can hamper with the effectiveness and efficiency of an ardent swimmer. Practicing this pose will help in opening up your hip.
- Opens up stiff hips, strengthens, stretches, and tones them
- Stretches your inner thighs, groin, and knees, allowing better strengthening and toning
- Puts your back pain to rest
- Alleviates stress and fatigues
- Wards off depression and anxiety
- Improves circulation, digestion, and breathing
How to do:
- Exhale from Child Pose and stretch your legs out.
- Sit erect, allowing your spine to elongate and lengthen.
- Bend your knees pushing them outwards.
- Adjust the knees in such a way that heels come closer to your groin while the soles of the feet are joined.
- Place your palms on your knees and push them towards the mat.
- Inhale and lift your hands up.
- Exhale and bend forward, placing the palms to rest on the mat.
- Your forehead should be placed on or outside of the toes, while knees are pressed down to the ground.
- Move your hands forward till you feel the stretch on the lower back.
- Inhale, lift your body, and release the pose.
- Breathing normally, sit back on your heels.
- Inhale and as you exhale, place your knees on the ground, toes stretched backward. Place your palms just beneath your shoulders.
- Inhale lift your knees off the ground, tuck your toes and come back to Downward Dog Pose.
- Exhale, place your legs between your palms, one at a time.
- Inhale, lift your hands over your head, and come up.
- Take a gentle backbend.
- Come back to the centre and relax.
This completes one round of vinyasa yoga for swimmers. Along with this the swimmers should practice a few breathing techniques also, so that the lung capacity will improve and the effectiveness and efficiency of performances also go up.
Pranayama For Swimmers
Anuloma Viloma Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing:
This is a great relaxing breathing technique which doubles up as a meditation method too. Just ensure that you are sitting with your spine straight to reap the maximum benefits.
Why to do:
- Stimulates and enhances your cardiovascular strength
- Peps up the capacity of lungs, enabling deeper and better breathing
- Improves your circulation levels
- Puts your stress levels at bay
- Eases anxiety and depression
- Aids in improving your focus level
How to do:
- Sit down on your yoga mat in a cross legged position of your choice. While Padmasana is the ideal one, you can choose to sit in Sukhasana too. People who are uncomfortable sitting cross legged can sit in Vajrasana or Virasana. People with knee and back injuries can use a chair and back support.
- Elongate your spine and keep it erect.
- Relax your shoulders, neck, and head, consciously rolling back the shoulders slightly.
- Place your palms atop the knees, fingers gently shaped into Gyan Mudra [Index finger touching the thumb].
- Close your eyes and lift your right hand, bending at the elbow.
- Shape the fingers of the right hand into Pranayama mudra. [The thumb will be used to cover the right nostril, index and middle fingers will be bent inward with their finger tips resting inside the palm, the ring finger will be used to close the left nostril, the little finger will point outward].
- Take one round of normal breathing.
- Close your right nostril with your thumb.
- Exhale completely via the left nostril.
- Take a slow, deep inhalation via the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with the ring finger.
- Open the right nostril and exhale completely.
- Inhale deeply and slowly via the right nostril.
- Close the right nostril.
- Open the left nostril and exhale completely.
This completes one repetition of Anuloma Viloma Pranayama. Do 25 such repetitions to complete one round. Do 3 rounds each of 25 repetitions to reap the benefits.
Yoga can easily be included in the workout regimen for swimmers. As I mentioned in the beginning, it offers a mesmerizingly rich bouquet of benefits to the body and mind of a swimmer. It will keep you calm and peaceful, while creating a powerful harmony and coordination between the body and mind.
All those powerful swimmers over there, start your yoga practice right away and reap the benefits to put up a power packed performance!